For any highly competitive industry that relies on a smooth and stable user experience, it is vital that their development teams accelerate release cycles, lower operating costs and ultimately reduce risks. Continuous testing is one way companies can achieve these objectives.
As a subset of software testing, continuous testing (CT) is valuable because it uncovers and addresses different problems at various stages of the development journey that other methods don’t. Most other testing methodologies require a large staff; CT doesn’t. CT leverages in-sprint automation, including end-to-end tests across the front and back end of the technology to cut costs and facilitate rapid delivery without adding more pressure on internal teams. Moreover, as part of a larger software delivery pipeline, CT is positioned closer to the beginning to execute tests early, often and comprehensively to realize cohesive release goals.
CT introduces quality assurance with constant iterations of testing and actionable feedback at each stage of development to evaluate business risk coverage and ensure the best user experience and customer satisfaction. As the name implies, CT helps developers and product managers detect and fix critical bugs not only in the early stages of development, but continuously throughout the software development life cycle (SDLC), ensuring that errors in the code do not get unintentionally released into the wild.
As software companies accelerate their release frequency, continuous testing sets a precedent for digital tools development and the quality assurance process.
Benefits of Continuous Testing
Continuous testing plays an integral role in the CI/CD pipeline, is part of the overall set of DevOps best practices and the information it provides is invaluable to development teams. The benefits of CT are also far-reaching, with positive impacts on the entire organization, including:
Better Company-Wide Feedback
Continuous testing facilitates feedback to all involved teams and stakeholders. For example, when a bug gets detected in code, ideally, the only team notified should be the team responsible for the part of the code with the bug. Without CT to automatically detect bugs and notify those responsible for fixing errors, triaging bugs could be a full team effort or, worse, a dedicated team’s main function. This approach is very inefficient and wastes the time of the engineers whose code is bug-free. The feedback provided from CT cuts down on these unproductive scenarios and allows stakeholders to make immediate and informed decisions.
Higher Quality Code and User Experience
A company that effectively uses CT should expect higher quality code and a more stable user experience. Stability measures application health and user experience; it is negatively affected by session-ending events like crashes. With CT, businesses will give their development teams better awareness of product quality and performance while also significantly improving overall business metrics by fixing broken apps faster.
CT Breaks Down Siloed Teams
Not only will CT enhance quality assurance, it similarly works to improve the development of digital tools through the breakdown of siloed teams. When teams become siloed, they inadvertently keep processes and knowledge to themselves, resist cross-functional collaboration and work in isolation toward their own goals. Predictably, separate groups fail to share insights or ideas, leading to stagnation and decreasing innovation. However, by leveraging CT, siloed teams can become more collaborative in development, testing and operations, increasing overall business efficiency.
CT Enables Objective Evaluation
Finally, CT enables an organization to pause and objectively assess if it is aligning efforts with its specific business goals. As mentioned before, CT uses automation to provide timely feedback on business risks, reducing the chances of a digital application or tool failing at launch. Likewise, dev teams and managers can more easily meet their business goals and optimize the value of a release. Additionally, objective assessments are helpful for critical decisions – as CT gives actionable data for decision-makers to support their choices.
Today, consumers have come to expect error-free experiences within their software applications, with the most stable of these applications driving conversion, engagement and retention. Applying a continuous testing model to a software development pipeline will ultimately result in applications being delivered faster and at higher levels of quality than ever before, with an enhanced end-user experience. As companies combine agile development with continuous testing, they will optimize each aspect of the development life cycle and their larger business goals.